chapter  5
15 Pages

Soundtracking the Novel: Willy Vlautin’s Northline as Filmic Audiobook: Justin St. Clair


In common parlance, the term “audiobook” often evokes a particular type of spoken-word recording: those 1980s-style books-on-tape, umpteen cassettes tightly packed inside a fl imsy plastic binding and tucked away in some musty corner of the local public library.1 Rapid and considerable changes in media technology over the past several decades, however, have not only rendered the traditional audiobook more portable (as cassette tapes gave way to compact discs, and CDs, in turn, to digital audio fi les), but those selfsame changes in recording technology have facilitated “hybrid audiobooks”: literary works that necessitate multimodal engagement, requiring the audience to both read and listen. These experimental audiobooks often remediate extant forms, and fi lm’s “audio/visual” paradigm provides a compelling template for hybridizing the novel.2